I tend to prefer bar soap to body wash, but lately I’ve been sudsing up with a body wash that’s so pleasant to use, I have to tell you about it. ALO Glow System Mega-C Body Wash is formulated to cleanse skin without stripping away moisture, which is much appreciated now that dry winter air has come to stay for the foreseeable future. It lathers up beautifully, and has a mild, sweet citrus scent that reminds me of orange blossom. It leaves my skin clean and soft (even if I forget body lotion). Whether you typically use body washes or are a bar soap girl like me, I highly recommend.
I’m very drawn to sheet masks. They usually come in fun packaging and I like the idea of perfectly portioned beauty treatments that take very little effort. Most sheet masks consist of a concentrated treatment that sits on top of your skin. When your mask time is up, you simply remove the sheet and massage the remaining treatment into your skin. Easy peasy.
Because I’m so drawn to these treatments, and because they typically have an easy-to-justify price tag, I’ve amassed quite a collection of sheet masks. So in an effort to work my way through them, I have declared this my inaugural sheet mask Sunday.
Since it’s January and the combination of freezing cold winds and dry indoor heat has pretty much turned me into a scaly lizard, I decided to go for hydration. Today I tried not one but three masks. For my flaky face I used a Sephora Aloe Vera Face Mask that claims to hydrate, refresh, and plump the skin while leaving it supple and full of moisture. It was definitely refreshing and did plump up my skin a bit. My face still feels drier than it should but it no longer looks flaky, so that’s a win. With it’s aloe content, I could see this being a lovely post-beach day mask in the summer. If your skin is only moderately dry this would probably do the trick.
The other masks I used today were these fun Aveeno Repairing Cica hand and foot masks. With these, you slip your clean, dry hands and feet into disposable booties and gloves, chill out for 10 minutes, then remove and massage the leftover product into your skin. These masks contain shea butter and prebiotic oat, which is meant to soothe and nourish the skin. I really enjoyed these masks and can feel a definite increase in hydration in my hands and feet. If you have tough calluses this won’t eliminate them, but it will leave your skin feeling really comfortable and soft. As a bonus, these masks are fragrance-free and formulated for sensitive skin. I would recommend them for anyone looking for a quick and easy winter pampering session!
You may have heard that Bliss – the iconic NYC spa known for its effective products, sassy product names and hefty price tags – recently gave itself a makeover. They kept the quality products, fun names and cute packaging, but ditched the high prices and a whole lot of other stuff; the brand is now paraben, phthalate, SLS, SLES and cruelty-free.
Since it doesn’t get much better than clean, cruelty-free, inexpensive beauty products, I decided I just had to try a few things to see if Bliss was still a beauty contender. I was absolutely delighted by my experience from the start; a buy two, get one free promotion plus a 20% off code (and free shipping!) meant that I got a cleanser, moisturizer and a body butter for $25. And, since Bliss products are now available at Target, I was able to pick up a pack of makeup remover wipes the last time I was there to add to my quickly expanding Bliss collection.
When my package arrived it was adorable. Seriously, receiving a package filled with pink packing hearts is so fun it makes you eager to place another order – we’ll played, Bliss. I’ve been using all of the products regularly and I have to say, I love every single one. Here’s the lowdown on my product picks:
Bliss Fab Foaming 2-in-1 Cleanser. This gentle exfoliating cleanser smells clean, lathers beautifully and doesn’t leave my skin feeling tight. It does improve the tone of my skin and reduce blemishes literally overnight, especially when paired with…
Bliss Ex-glow-sion Super Rich Moisturizer. This product claims to give you dewy, radiant skin. Consider that confirmed. It feels so good when you slather it on. It’s rich enough for those cool, dry months without being greasy or too heavy for summer. I’m in love.
Bliss Makeup Melt Oil-free Makeup Remover Wipes. Since I’m a sucker for polka dots and anything that allows me to skip a full face wash when I’m feeling lazy, it was only a matter of time before I picked these up. These simple wipes easily dissolve makeup without drying or irritating my skin. And at $7 for a 30-pack, I don’t imagine my nightstand will ever be without them again.
Bliss Body Butter. I’ve tried the Lemon & Sage (classic) and the Blood Orange & White Pepper varieties. Both have very light, lovely scents and a rich texture that easily melts into skin. I usually save body butters for the winter months but could not resist the blood orange scent and have continued to use it for months. Luckily it absorbs quickly and has proven itself to be a fine summer staple as well.
If you haven’t already placed a Bliss order, I say do it right now (be sure to sign up for their newsletter to get 20% off your first order). Just be prepared to fall in love with every product you try.
Don’t you just love it when a cheap little impulse buy becomes your new favorite thing? That’s precisely what happened to me a couple of weeks ago when I grabbed this hot pink tube of EOS Pomegranate Raspberry Shave Cream while waiting to check out at Ulta.
My sister had already told me that she loved it, but I’ve never been all that into shaving creams – run of the mill conditioner works just fine and is fairly inexpensive. But I loved everything about this pretty little tube, including its $1.99 price tag. So into my shopping bag it went!
I’ve been using it for the past couple weeks and I am absolutely in love with it. It’s packed with skin-softening shea butter and helps prevent nicks and razor burn. The scent is mild and the cream lathers lightly. My legs haven’t looked or felt this smooth in ages!
It has been far too long since my last post and for that I must apologize. It has been a very hectic couple of months and I simply have not had as much time as I would like for fun stuff (like sampling and writing). However, I have managed to try some new products and even finished a few in the past several weeks. Here’s a look at my empties for February and March:
Dove Purely Pampering Sweet Cream Beauty Bar: I picked up a duo of these beauty bars after trying a body wash that left me broken out and very unhappy. I chose the sweet cream version because of it’s light, sweet scent – very feminine but also very mild. Nothing earth shattering here but it gets me clean without the addition of pimples and it smells nice. I’d buy them again.
Dr. Jart Water Replenishment Cotton Sheet Mask: This has got to be my favorite new beauty thing; it’s certainly the best sheet mask I’ve ever tried. It’s drenched in a super-moisturizing formula that soothes the skin and left me looking and feeling fresh and glowy for the rest of the day. Bonus: you can freak out your pets by looking like a serial killer when you put it on.
Make Dual-Phase Eye Makeup Remover: This is my all-time favorite eye makeup remover. It’s gentle and effective, lasts for a ridiculously long time, is a pretty pink color and comes in a cool square bottle.
Lady Speed Stick Invisible Dry Powder Fresh Antiperspirant/Deodorant: I bought this for 99 cents one day when I was feeling nostalgic for the days when I used to swear by powder fresh deodorant. It’s a solid deodorant (see what I did there?) and kept me fresh and sweat-free.
Covergirl CG Smoothers BB Cream: This is not new to my blog or to my empties. My classic winter BB cream, it’s still moisturizing, easy to use and light enough for my ghost-like winter complexion. Still a winner.
Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleansing Cloths: Another empties MVP, these wipes are great for those days when you just cannot be bothered to properly wash your face.
Eyeko Black Magic Mascara: This mascara is quickly becoming one of my favorites. It’s dark and dramatic and lasts all day without flaking or smudging. Plus I love the unique packaging and curled wand. If you haven’t tried this mascara yet, do yourself a favor and buy some right now.
Since we’re smack dab in the middle of winter, it’s no surprise that my most recent batch of empties includes skincare standbys and some soothing hair products. Let’s take a look:
Dr Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Peel Original Formula: This easy to use 2-step anti-aging treatment has been a favorite for years now. It smooths without irritating my skin and helps fight winter flakiness. I was thrilled to receive this little three-pack as a freebie with my last Sephora purchase.
Philosophy Miracle Worker Miraculous Anti-Aging Moisturizer: The only thing better for my winter complexion than the above-mentioned peel is following it up with a generous layer of my favorite moisturizer. This skin-softening, ultra-hydrating moisturizer is my winter favorite.
Davines LOVE Shampoo & LOVE Conditioner: I didn’t love this smoothing shampoo on its own – it made my locks a little limp – but paired with the conditioner it left my hair soft and bouncy. It also kept my scalp moisturized. I’m really not a fan of its heavy floral scent, so I won’t be purchasing it again.
Dove Advanced Care Beauty Finish Anti-perspirant Deodorant: I don’t know about the “beauty finish” part, but I loved the clean scent of this deodorant and it left me fresh all day long. A solid pick.
Happy holiday season beauties! It’s been a while since I’ve been able to write a real post; I’ve been having some serious technical difficulties but they appear to finally be resolved! Since I was unable to share my empties at the end of last month, I’m combining October and November into one:
Suave Naturals Almond Verbena 2 in 1 Shampoo & Conditioner: I am obsessed with this shampoo. It’s responsible for every good hair day I had during the past two months! It was conditioning enough to be fine on its own without ever making my strands look or feel greasy. It made my hair feel light and clean and smelled lovely. I’ll definitely be buying this again.
Tocca Giulietta Nourishing Body Scrub: The fine grain of this exfoliator was gentle and left my skin feeling exceptionally soft and smooth, but I wasn’t crazy about the scent. I expected to love the pink tulip/green apple combination, but it was overly floral. I’d be interested in trying the other scents.
Suave Naturals Tropical Coconut Conditioner: A remnant from my summer beauty favorites, this is a decent conditioner that smells great and makes a wonderful shave cream.
Dior Diorshow Extase Mascara: From the gold tube to the thick, dark lashes it leaves in its wake, everything about this mascara is glam. It doesn’t flake off but it will rub off it you forget you’re wearing it. One of my favorite mascaras.
Vaseline Intensive Care Spray Moisturizer in Aloe Soothe: I wrote about this over the summer and I still love it. This is an excellent pick for anyone who is too lazy to take the time to put lotion on (I’m looking at you, Mom). The aloe version was great for summer, but it also comes in other varieties that would be perfect for cooler months!
Osmia Organics Lavender Shea Soap: This smooth bar of soap lasted months! It left my skin clean and never dry. My only complaint is that I wanted more lavender! The scent faded long before the soap was gone.
Naobay Oxygenating Cream Moisturizing: This organic moisturizer had a light texture and was surprisingly moisturizing. When the weather started to turn cool and dry, I started layering this under a tinted moisturizer for an extra boost. I’d recommend it as a gentle, effective moisturizer.
EOS Hand Cream: I didn’t love the scent but this weird, flat little tube holds a really nice little lotion! I used it as an all over body cream while traveling and it worked perfectly. This would make a great stocking stuffer.
I can’t believe we’re already more than a week into October! You’ll have to forgive me for being a bit behind with reviewing last month’s empties – between a road trip to visit some good friends in their new home, several nights out to celebrate various happy occasions with friends, and a jam-packed work schedule, I’ve had a very busy couple of weeks! Luckily, the long hours and short weekends have not kept me from testing and finishing up a whole bunch of things. Let’s take a look at September’s empties:
Dickinson’s Original Witch Hazel Refreshingly Clean Cleansing Cloths: These gentle daily cleansing cloths are formulated to remove makeup and oil without over-drying or irritating sensitive skin. They combine the natural toning properties of witch hazel with soothing aloe, a blend the package says gives the cloths their “signature botanical scent.” Here is what I have to say about these face wipes: they are very effective at removing makeup and oil, and when I used them they kept my skin quite clear and even. However, I found that signature scent to be almost stomach-turning. The scent was so strong and so unpleasant that it took me months to finish up this pack of 25 cleansing cloths. I would not recommend them to anyone who is the least bit sensitive to strong smells.
Boscia Pore Purifying Black Strips: As with Boscia’s classic black mask (and pretty much every other Boscia product I’ve tested), I was very excited to give this pore strip a try. As a person whose past experiences with drugstore pore strips have been quite painful and ineffective, I was cautiously optimistic that this one would work for me. Happily, it did! I decided to test this strip one afternoon after noticing that my pores looked unusually large and grimy. Not only did this strip remove the grime and make my pores instantly less prominent, I was actually able to peel the strip from my face without crying or taking any skin with it. This is definitely the Cadillac of pore strips.
Malin + Goetz Geranium Body Wash: I’ve sampled a couple of Malin + Goetz products over the years, and I’ve really liked all of them. This body wash was no different. Though I don’t typically love floral scents, this one was mild and left a pleasant fragrance on my skin that lasted through most of the day. It also made my skin insanely soft, even without lotion. I think this would make a great gift.
Maybelline Dream Fresh BB: I’ve written about this so many times, there’s not much left to say! I finally used up my summer BB cream, and not a moment too soon; my tan has definitely abandoned me, making this beauty balm just a touch too dark for my complexion. Other than that, it’s an all-around great BB cream that provides moisture and nice light coverage for a super reasonable price.
Colgate MaxFresh with Whitening Flouride Toothpaste: A pretty basic toothpaste. I can’t say I noticed a difference in whiteness, but it did a great job of keeping my mouth feeling fresh.
Philosophy Purity Made Simple: This facial cleanser is an old favorite for good reason – it’s gentle, effective, and even smells pure and simple. I often turn to it when another product has caused irritation or the changing seasons has turned my skin into a red blotchy mess. It’s always a safe bet.
Benefit They’re Real! Remover: This waterproof eye makeup remover has a unique creamy gel formula that is designed to prevent pulling or tugging of the delicate skin around the eyes. I have to confess, I was completely caught off guard by the odd texture. It was goopy and unpleasant, and I got a ton of it in my eyes. This makeup remover is formulated to be safe for sensitive eyes and contact lens wearers, and I’ll admit that my highly sensitive eyes did not sting or burn after using it. Still, it felt gross. And with all the wonderfully effective eye makeup removers out there (like this one from MAKE), I don’t see a reason to use one that feels this bad.
Amika Perk Up Dry Shampoo: I wrote about this a little while back after receiving it in a Birchbox. It’s a nice, fresh-smelling dry shampoo that’s great for giving second day hair a little oomph. That oomph doesn’t last very long, but it’s really clean and natural looking while it lasts. A great product to throw in your purse for on-the-go touchups.
Happy Labor Day beauties! The end of summer is painfully close, but today is a beautiful day and I intend to spend it soaking up some delicious late summer rays. Before we say hello to fall, let’s celebrate the holiday with a look back at some of the products that helped me through this season:
Caudalie Make-Up Remover Cleansing Water: I wrote about this new skincare favorite here. I still love it. A perfect summer cleanser.
Gillette Fusion Hydra Gel: This technically belonged to my husband, but I’m pretty sure I used more of this shave gel than he did. With aloe and cocoa butter, it left my skin super soft and allowed for a really close shave.
R & Co Atlantis Moisturizing Shampoo & Conditioner: I took this little duo on a road trip to a beach wedding on a hot summer day. It left my hair feeling clean, smelling fresh, and miraculously free of frizz. I was very impressed.
Suave Tropical Coconut Shampoo: I seem to return to this cheapo shampoo every summer. The light coconut scent is just what I’m looking for in the warmer months, and it’s great cleanser.
Dove Go Fresh Cool Moisture Body Bar: I wrote about this last month, too. Still a fine choice for a summer soap. In other news, I’ve finally used up my soap stash! Hooray!
Whish Three Whishes Almond Body Butter: This thick body lotion left my skin feeling soft, but I don’t think it’s moisturizing enough for the cooler, dryer months. The almond scent was a bit too strong at first but became much more pleasant as the day wore on. It makes a really nice hand cream.
Benefit Bad Gal Lash: When this mascara was first released, I tried it, loved it, and then promptly swore it off because it burned my eyes in the most painful way. Years later, I received this mini and decided to give it another go. I’m so glad that I did! Benefit must have tweaked their formula; it didn’t bother my eyes at all! It did make my lashes look full and gorgeous, though. Bad Gal Lash for the win!
Dr. Jart Dermaclear Micro Water: Another waterless cleanser, this product claims to remove makeup and impurities while toning and brightening skin. While I don’t think it worked as well as the Caudalie cleanser, it did help remove makeup and keep oil in check.
Beauty Protector Protect & Oil: If you’ve ever used products from this brand, you’ve probably noticed the sugary sweet scent they usually have. I’m happy to report that this hair oil had a very mild, hardly noticeable scent. It also kept frizz at bay and protected my hair from being fried this summer, without any greasiness. A great summer hair product.
This has been a lovely summer, filled with all the things that make this season so wonderful: weddings, barbecues, days at the beach, nights out with friends and lots of time spent outside, soaking up as much sun and beautiful scenery as I can before the summer comes to a close. The fun continued when I learned I was selected to receive Influenster’s summer-themed Sunshine VoxBox, filled with tasty treats and warm weather beauty essentials. I’ve spent the last few weeks tasting and testing to my heart’s content. Here’s the scoop:
Infusium 23 Moisture Replenisher Leave-in Smoothing Crème Enhanced with Avocado and Olive Oil (#Infusium23Smooth): This is definitely one of my favorite products in the Sunshine box, and it has quickly become a beach bag staple. This leave-in conditioner works best if you air dry your hair. It keeps frizz at bay and leaves your hair smelling amazing. I tried using it as part of my everyday styling routine and wasn’t blown away, but when I brought it with me for a day at my favorite swimming spot, everything changed. I applied it generously to my wet, gnarly strands and used my fingers to comb it through. My hair instantly looked and felt better, and within minutes it started to dry in the prettiest, beachiest waves – with no frizz to be found!
Dickinson’s Original Witch Hazel Refreshingly Clean Cleansing Cloths (#SelfieReadySkin): I’m usually a big fan of cleansing cloths, and from what I can tell these were non-drying and did a fine job of removing makeup and oil without irritating my skin. However, I could barely stomach the smell of them. I’m not sure what it is, but it made me a little queasy. I was only able to use them a couple of times. If you’re sensitive to scents of any kind, I would avoid these.
Blue Diamond Sriracha Almonds (#BlueDiamondAlmonds): I was worried that these spicy almonds might be too hot for me, but I was happily mistaken! The chili-garlic flavor combo is addictively delicious with just the right amount of kick. I’d recommend them as a tasty and healthy way to satisfy a chip craving.
barkTHINS (#breakupwithboring): The Sunshine box came with a coupon for a free bag of another tasty treat, barkTHINS snacking chocolate. I chose the dark chocolate, almond and sea salt variety, and thought it was really good. The bark was filled with crunchy almond bits and the chocolate was good and dark, not too sweet. My only complaint? I wish there was just a little more salt – I could barely taste it.
SinfulColors Nail Polish (#ColorOutsideTheLines): I received a bottle of polish from the SinfulColors Silk collection, a sheer turquoise called Real Teal. Unfortunately, it was a real dud. The polish seemed cheap from the get-go; the brush deposited color unevenly, making the sheer shade almost imperceptible in some spots and dark and blobby in others. Also, the combination of it being a super sheer, matte blue polish left me looking less like I’d just given myself a manicure and more like I’d just been pulled from the deep freeze. The whole experience was a mess.
Vaseline Intensive Care Aloe Soothe Spray Moisturizer (#VaselineSprays): I’ve been wanting to try one of these spray lotions for a while, and I was not disappointed when I did. This aloe spray is perfect for summer, leaving skin cool and refreshed, especially after a day spent in the sun. Plus, it allows you to moisturize your entire body in ten seconds – so convenient. It’s very lightweight, surprisingly hydrating, and smells fresh and clean. It’s a perfect daily lotion for summer.
I received these products free for testing purposes. All opinions are my own.